Telltale Games has been resurrected following a successful bid from LCG Entertainment to secure the name of the company and some of its assets.
Telltale Games 2.0 has not been recouped by original team members but instead by CEO of Galaxy Pest Control, Jamie Ottilie, and former Havok marketing head, Brian Waddle. Other partners include publisher Athlon Games – which will manage storefront operations and distribution – and financial backers like Lyle Hall (Heavy Iron Studios), Chris Kingsley OBE (Rebellion), and Tobias Sjögren (formerly of Starbreeze).
According to a report by Polygon (thanks, Eurogamer), the deal includes the back-catalogue rights to The Wolf Among Us, Batman, and original Telltale IPs like Puzzle Agent. The studio will be based in Malibu, California – 400 miles from its original headquarters in San Rafael – and an unspecified number of prior staff members have been offered freelance positions with the new team with a view to moving to “full-time positions possible in the future”.
Telltale Games laid off the majority of its staff in a ‘majority studio closure’ back in September. 25 employees remained at the company, though most projects were cancelled. The layoffs were confirmed via a tweet on the official Telltale Games account, blaming a year ‘marked by insurmountable challenges’ for the decision.
“We’re going to stay small over the next six months and we will work for more of a distributed development pipeline than Telltale was known for,” Ottilie told Polygon. “We’ll focus on tools, technology and design in-house. Some things like animation and motion capture will be done with the right partnerships externally.
“We will probably keep the concept of episodes but with different pacing,” they added, expanding on its development plans. “This is a different world, from a media consumption standpoint. We need to look at how people like to entertain themselves. I like the idea of binge-watching.”
“This is a viable business that went away due to market conditions and some scale choices [previous management] made,” Ottilie concluded. “I like games that tell stories and I think our industry should have a company that specialises in narrative-driven games.
“It’s unfortunate the way that it ended. Certainly we’re working very hard not to make similar mistakes.”
A former Telltale Games employee launched a class-action lawsuit against the original company after they were made redundant, claiming it violated California’s WARN Act in not giving those fired at least 60 days notice before termination. Telltale was alleged to have failed to adhere to a number of its financial commitments to employees, including salaries, bonuses, commissions, holiday pay and more for the 60 days following terminations. The case is reportedly still on-going.